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Electrical safety at work

Electricity can kill if you give it the chance.

This page is a quick reference for employers and self-employed people to meet their obligations under the legislation. It covers the main points for most types of workplace but it is not a complete list.

Information on extension cords and flexible leads is also included.

Even if you survive an electric shock, there can be serious side effects. These can include:

  • burns
  • eye damage
  • partial loss of limb function
  • neurological disorders such as confusion and memory loss
  • injuries caused after the shock such as falling from a ladder or contact with moving machinery.

The Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 sets out specific requirements about electrical equipment and installations at a workplace.

The regulation covers some of the minimum requirements and these include:

  • protecting extension leads and flexible cables from damage
  • using safety switches in certain situations
  • inspecting, testing and tagging certain electrical equipment on a regular basis
  • removing defective equipment
  • removing safety switches if they are not working properly
  • not using double adaptors and piggyback plugs to do certain work
  • regularly testing and tagging extension cords.

Employers and self-employed people must also make sure electrical equipment is kept in a safe condition as part of their obligations under the Electrical Safety Act 2002.

How does the regulation apply to you regarding extension cords and flexible leads?

All employers and self-employed people must locate and protect extension leads and flexible cables so they are not damaged by anything, including liquid. An example is using a cover to prevent crushing or other damage in pedestrian and vehicle areas.

The following two Electrical Safety Codes of Practice provide valuable information on electrical safety at work:

Last updated
03 January 2020

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